This pilgrimage, for me, is more than a time to collect stories, more than my first feature film. This summer will determine where my career goes (and I don't mean in a success-driven way at all.) Movies tend to be made in similar ways, and that is usually a good thing. Filmmaking is its own language. I can always tell when I'm away from other filmmakers for a while, because when I'm with them again, I talk quickly and passionately, like a foreigner encountering others who speak their native tongue. This common language, this uniform way if working, can help make impossible feats happen on film sets. But I often find myself craving something different.
My happiest moments as a filmmaker have been when I'm not only creating something new, but when the process is new, or risky, and I have to jump into the situation with a small group of people, times where we have to develop a new work language so we can improv off each other's strengths like jazz musicians, until we get to the place where we barely have to speak. We just know.
I've had tastes of that with past films. This summer, this film, is really a grand experiment. Can I throw the playbook I learned in school out the window and really live a film? No matter what happens on this pilgrimage, I will be changed. I hope that this film, this antithesis of all I've done before, will capture something beautiful. I hope that the beauty comes not only from the amazing places we will visit and people we will meet, but also from our own experiences, our own willingness to live a life like this for the summer.